In today's instalment of Scoops' out for Summer, we get tropical with the magical combination of ice and syrup.
Ohana Hawaiian Cafe
6320 NE Sandy Blvd ., 335-5800, ohanahawaiiancafe.com.
Price per scoop: $3 for a large mound of shaved ice, plus .50 cents per topping
Most popular flavor: Among adults, the fancy tropical flavors like guava and mango are the top choices. For the kids, anything brightly colored seems to suffice.
The person in front of me: A squirmy, overexcited six-year-old—just one out of a pack eyeballing the row multi-colored sugary syrups.
Best for: Pretending you're on a sad, sad vacation.
Beloved for its authentic, homemade desserts (like sweet potato haupia pie and guava chiffon cake), Northeast Sandy's Ohana Hawaiian Cafe briefly opened a separate location right next door, specializing exclusively in the tasty treats and Kona coffee. Sadly, market demand was simply not strong enough for an entire dessert annex and the Ohana Dessert and Shave Ice house was closed down.
Fortunately the desserts are still available in Ohana proper, along with its made-to-order shave ice. Flavors range from standard cherry and grape to the kid-enticing root beer and bubblegum to the more tropical-themed mango and coconut. To up the delightful, authentic weirdness, you can add toppings like mochi balls, li hing plum powder or azuki beans. I went slightly less adventurous with guava flavor and a drizzle of condensed milk. It was tasty and I made it all the way to the halfway mark before it became intolerably cloying. Even so, I'd argue that shave ice ranks above ice cream on the refreshing scale.
Ohana's location on gritty Northeast Sandy and 63rd makes it a difficult spot to pop into while out for a stroll. You'll probably be going by car and eating your shave ice at the restaurant. While it's clean and brightly colored (with a pervasive pork aroma), it's not exactly a tropical paradise. But who needs the gentle rhythm of crashing waves when you've got the shrieks of sugared-up children echoing off tile floors and low ceilings?
More Scoops' out for Summer
Day 4: Roses Ice Cream
Day 2: Oregon Ice Works
Day 1: What's the Scoop?